Hawks’ Trae Young Getting Pass For Brutal Start

Trae Young, Hawks, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The start of the 2023-24 NBA regular season was not kind to some players. One, in particular, that had to handle a lot of ridicule was New York Knicks power forward, Julius Randle. Randle, coming off his second All-Star and All-NBA Second Team nomination in the past three seasons, had some high expectations of himself and the team.

Out of the gate, his production, more specifically hit shooting numbers, was very poor. He was setting records for ineptitude, putting up shooting numbers that haven’t been seen in nearly 100 years. Seemingly every night, he was hitting a new low.

Despite the struggles, he was still providing some production to the team. Just as he was putting up abysmal shooting numbers, he was recording counting stats only Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic, the last two MVPs of the NBA, were putting up.

Every time you’d turn the TV on or listen to people talk about the NBA, they were bashing Randle. He has tougher skin than most, as the constant negativity would drive some people insane. 

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Julius Randle, Trae Young, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks Updates

But, he knew bright days were ahead and stuck with his routine. In the last few games, that determination has paid off. Moving further and further away from the ankle procedure that hampered him in the early going, we are starting to see the Randle of old show up.

Those recent performances have led to an uptick in Randle’s numbers across the board. He is quieting his doubters, and there are a lot of them, each night. But, the ridicule for him has been loud while other players are getting a pass on their performances.

One of the players who hasn’t received anywhere near as much negative press as Randle, despite deserving it, is Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks. The Knicks and Hawks faced off earlier this week and while Randle rose to the occasion to help his team get a win, Young shrunk when his team needed him most.

It was Dejounte Murray keeping the Hawks in the game late in the fourth quarter, keeping pace with Jalen Brunson, Immanuel Quickley and Randle. Outside of some late-game free throws, of which he missed one, Young was nowhere to be found.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Julius Randle, Trae Young, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks Updates

New York attacked him relentlessly when on offense, getting him involved in all of their play calls. The 8-0 run the Knicks went on after going down by seven in the fourth quarter was keyed by the poor defense of Young. Unable to make up for his lackluster defense with offensive production, a game Atlanta looked to be in control of slipped away as the Knicks scored on every possession from that timeout through the end of the game outside of a late five-second violation on an inbound play.

Young struggled mightily shooting the ball, going 4-of-12 from the field and 0-for-4 on 3-pointers. It has been that way all season for the two-time All-Star, who is shooting 35.6 percent from the field and 27.8 percent from 3-point range. You wouldn’t know it based on how they are each perceived, but Young is having a worse shooting season than Randle is at this point.

If it weren’t for his foul shooting, where Young is connecting at 88.7 percent, his counting numbers would be abysmal. Over one-third of his points per game are coming from the foul line, as his inefficiencies in shooting the ball are a major detriment to the Hawks finding success.

It will be interesting to see if Young can bounce back and find his footing as Randle has. A massive negative on the defensive end of the court, he needs to figure things out offensively or he will sink the ship in Atlanta with his level of play.

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About Kenneth Teape 3859 Articles
Kenneth Teape is an NBA Reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He covers all things across the league, including both news and editorial work. Make sure to follow Kenneth on Twitter at @teapester725.